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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (6/17): The Way Forward -

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O 171014Z JUN 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1816
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
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RUEAHQA/CSAF WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
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RUENAAA/CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7163
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4150
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4003
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5501
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 3919
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2481

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 001020

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STATE PASS BBG
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC FOR ABRAMS
CMC WASHINGTON DC FOR POLAD

JERUSALEM ALSO FOR ICD
LONDON FOR HKANONA AND POL - TSOU
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

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TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS
SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (6/17): THE WAY FORWARD -
NATIONAL UNITY AND ELUSIVE PEACE


-------------
Main Stories:
-------------

Al-Quds opens with reports on the Egyptian brokered Israel/Gaza
truce talks under the headline, "Hamas will inform Cairo of its
final decision [Jne 17]." The paper quotes Hamas leader Ismael
Hniyyah stating, "The draft of the truce agreement s in its final
stage." Al-Quds also quotes Israli Defense Minister Barak
explaining, "should we each a truce agreement with Gaza, we will
have t make painful decisions regarding Palestinian prisner
issues." The same story concludes with a qute by Palestinian
presidential spokesperson Abu udaynah highlighting that President
Abbas insiststhat the "siege" on the Gaza Strip should be lifte
"immediately" after the signing of a truce agrement. Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida leads with, "PresidentAbbas is hoping to reach a truce
[with Israelis]in the coming days and he has stressed the need to
open [Gaza] border crossings." On the ground, th three dailies
report that four Palestinian "figters" were killed and sevral
others injured in an Israeli military strikeon the southern Gaza
Strip in Khan Younis.

Th dailies report on trilateral discussions held by ecretary Rice
with Israeli Defense Minister Bara and Palestinian Prime Minister
Fayyad on June 16in Jerusalem. Al-Quds reports that, "Fayyad
reitrated Palestinian opposition to continued settlemet activities
in Jerusalem." Related reports inthe dailies highlight Israeli
Premier Olmert's sggestion to postpone discussion on the status of
erusalem. The stories note that he informed Rice bout his
intention to continue Jerusalem settlemnt activities. Palestinian
presidency spokesperon Nabil Abu Rudaynah responded to Olmert's
statment, commenting that there can be, "no solution [t the
conflict] unless occupied Arab Jerusalem beomes the capital of the
independent Palestinian tate." Al-Ayyam reports Secretary Rice
stating hat she, "did not sense any change in the Israeli osition
toward settlements." Al-Hayat Al-Jadida ummarizes that Rice,
"ended her visit without beng able to remove checkpoints." The
same story adds that, "Israel is resisting American pressure to
reach a [peace] agreement."
The meeting between Palestinian President Abbas and Arab League
Secretary General Amr Musa in Amman on June 16 is front page news.
According to coverage, the two leaders discussed a possible
Palestinian-Israeli truce, negotiations with Israel and internal
Palestinian dialogue. The dailies report that Abbas also gave a
read-out of his meetings with Secretary Rice.
The papers headline internal Palestinian, "reconciliation talks."
Al-Quds notes that national Palestinian dialogue will begin in Egypt
at the end of the month. Reports also note that Fatah delegations
will meet with Fatah members in Gaza in preparation of talks with
other Palestinian parties.
Al-Quds reports that the State Department confirmed that President
Bush confirmed the necessity of establishing a Palestinian state in
the West Bank and Gaza. The paper writes that President Bush's
comments were sent to Al Quds in response to its on-line report
about presidential hopeful John McCain's comments about an
"alternative home" for Palestinians.
The three dailies run coverage of the visit by members of an ECA
citizen exchange program administered by the, American Council of
Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) to Palestinian areas. Al-Quds
quotes the Governor of Bethlehem telling the delegation, that
includes U.S. state legislators, that the Palestinian people, "yearn
for peace" with Israel and that Palestinians, "have sacrificed a
great deal for the cause of peace." The articles quote an ACYPL
delegation member explaining that the visit is part of ongoing

JERUSALEM 00001020 002 OF 002


efforts to increase exchanges between Palestinian and American youth
leaders. Separate reports also cover the delegation's meeting with
the Governor of Salfit in the West Bank. The Governor is quoted
speaking about the, "suffering of Palestinians" in his governorate
as a result of the separation barrier and ongoing settlement
activities.

------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
------------
1. Independent Al-Quds runs its daily editorial under the title,
"What surprise are we waiting for?" (17/7): "The current Palestinian
situation faces two immediate and important challenges; the first
challenge is related to the brave initiative that was launched by
President Abu Mazin to resume national talks after a long year of
division, weakness and suffering. The second challenge is related
to efforts sponsored by Egypt to reach a truce between Hamas and
Israel. These efforts have reached a critical stage with both sides
having stated their conditions and having found a compromise
position. A truce is expected to be reached shortly ... the issue
of national talks is the main challenge that faces the two parties
of the nation. Talks should not be for the purpose of
sloganeering... but should unify political positions and lead to
real action..."

2. Independent official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida carries an op-ed
by columnist Omar Al-Ghoul entitled, "What is the meaning of Rice's
comments?" (6/17): "At the end of her visit to the region, Dr. Rice
made a very vague, negative statement about Israeli settlement
policy, which is destroying any horizon for political agreement,
contrary to international laws and norms, and against all agreements
that were signed by the two sides from Oslo to Annapolis in 2007.
Secretary Rice said that settlements 'might' affect the peace
process. Such a comment does not reflect an American desire to
pressure the occupation and aggression state of Israel. On the
contrary, it gives Israel motivation and justification to continue
its policies to judanize and confiscate Palestinian lands. The
direct proof for this is found in the Israeli Prime Minister's
assurance that settlement activities will continue and not affect
negotiations. It is as if he is saying [to Rice], 'we don't think
that your comment has any relevance to us ..."

WALLES

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